Skyline football looks for another run at the state title
August 30, 2011
By Christopher Huber
It didn’t take long for the Skyline Spartans football team to bounce back from defeat at the 2010 state 4A title game. From players’ reactions after the final buzzer sounded, the loss to Ferris stung.
Ultimately, it inspired the team to start preparing for the 2011 season earlier than ever. Players began optional workouts in January instead of March. And coupled with the handful of team and 7-on-7 camps they attended, the Spartans seemed to exude as much confidence as ever during late August practices. That’s despite losing Kasen Williams, considered by many national publications to be last year’s top wide receiver prospect in the nation.
Skyline still will focus its attack around junior quarterback Max Browne, who in his sophomore year completed 294 of 432 passes for 4,182 yards, 50 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. But the Spartans will also step up the running game from years past to potentially pack an even harder punch than its state-champ squads did under now-BYU starter, quarterback Jake Heaps.
“There’s a lot of new guys stepping up,” said Browne during a break at practice Aug. 25.
Browne was most impressed with the team’s cohesiveness and overall depth this season. Skyline returns 10 starters from last year, but also comes loaded with a new crop of contributors on both sides of the ball.
“We’re more deep than any other year Skyline has seen,” Browne said. “We don’t lose a lot.”
Browne will have some relatively large targets in his receiving corps in seniors Mason Gregory (6-foot-5, 210), Taggert Kreuger (6-2), John deVita (6-5) and junior Andrew Giese (6-2).
Taylor said the key to Skyline earning another league title and getting back to state is the team establishing the line of scrimmage and balancing the run and pass game. While pass-heavy in 2010, the Spartans will hit the field with plenty of power on the ground and in the air in 2011. Seniors Damien Greene and Connor Gilchrist return at running back with more experience, as well as with two juniors to back them up — Jack Valencia and Chase Premone.
Three offensive linemen, Ben Vavra, Joe Beattie and Austin Owen, return to protect Browne and create holes for the running backs.
Junior linebacker Peyton Pelluer will lead the defense and senior Jake Monroe and juniors Nick Sblendorio, Sean McDonald, Blake Young, Peter Stromgren, Devin Benford and Brandon Crandall will provide depth in the mid and back field.
With some key 2010 players gone, Skyline might seem like a whole new team. But Taylor, in his fourth year as head coach, seemed confident about the team’s work ethic and skill level heading into the season opener Sept. 2 against Liberty.
“We have a lot of kids that are new to our offense and defense but they have picked things up beautifully and we are excited to see them play,” Taylor said.
Games to watch: Liberty at Skyline, 7 p.m., Sept. 2; Bellevue at Skyline, 7 p.m., Sept. 9; Skyline at Eastlake, 7 p.m., Oct. 21.
Reporter Christopher Huber can be reached at 392-6434, ext. 242, or firstname.lastname@example.org.